Let’s face it: Thanksgiving this year for roughly half of America will pretty much be like every other rotten day this year, just with more pies. Less work emails.
There will be no family gatherings, no guests, no reckless Turkey Bowl football games with friends—after all, nobody can afford a shattered groin and a trip to the emergency room right now. There will be no Drumstick Dash in Broad Ripple. There will be nothing superfluous, like grandparents or a fancy tablecloth or pants.
There will just be more of the same, with the exact same people in the exact same place. More March 12th. More moping around the kitchen, eating gravy, worriedly playing everyone’s favorite game of “Is This Chest Pain Cardiac or Covid?” (Yay, it’s stress-induced myocardial ischemia, I WIN!!) There will be more episodes of “New Girl” on the television. Everyone likes that show well enough.
Then again, maybe Wimbledon starts up again Thursday morning? Maybe… the MLB All-Star Game? Who knows, I haven’t checked and I’m not planning to. Surprise us, 2020! Nothing makes sense anymore and everything is surreal— having the Masters on at the same time as NFL football the other day was kind of fun, and certainly unexpected.
We will technically still “do” Thanksgiving, of course. We’ll cook a turkey, watch the stupid Lions game, and drink way too many Old Fashioneds for a gloomy Thursday afternoon in November (or any other afternoon, for that matter.) We’ll still create nine cubic yards of weird goblets and sauceboats for the kids to clean. We will still say a prayer and acknowledge the people not lucky enough to be “celebrating” the day—the nurses and the doctors and the sick, the hopeless and the unemployed—and then we’ll instantly feel even worse about ourselves for complaining at all. Then we’ll watch more football.
It will still be Thanksgiving, I guess. Technically speaking.
It will still be Thanksgiving in the same way that e-learning is technically still “school,” a Zoom meeting is still technically a “meeting,” and wearing a mask under your chin is still technically “wearing a mask.” It will be theater, mostly—like everything else this year—dressed up in quasi-normalcy and cranberry sauce. Nobody likes cranberry sauce all that much.
But for the other half of this country, in the Upside Down, there will be nothing theatrical about it. No, it will be full steam ahead with the normal holiday travels and festivities, the gatherings and the buffet lines, ventilators be damned.
Their freedom to spittle their giblets all over each other is more important than everyone else’s freedom to not be in the ICU. In their minds, reality is tyranny or some such, and nobody is going to stop them from celebrating with family and friends. They are SO SICK AND TIRED of this pandemic, you guys! It’s selfishness wrapped in recklessness wrapped in a “Joe Rogan Experience” hoodie, and the blast radius of their actions will extend into Easter. It’s precisely the sort of worldview that has kept us in this sewer fire for this long. But this is not a call to action. It’s not a plea to stay home. It’s just depressing, is all.
There is a vaccine coming, though, sooner rather than later. Multiple vaccines, actually. And if there’s anything we all can be thankful for in this miserable year, it’s that.